Mortgage Rates Rise After Long Slide

The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose this week after falling to new record lows in each of the past 13 weeks.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on the 30-year loan jumped to 3.55 percent. That’s up from 3.49 percent last week, which was the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinancing option, increased to 2.83 percent. That’s above last week’s record low of 2.80 percent.

Cheaper mortgage rates have helped drive a modest but uneven housing recovery this year. Sales of new and previously occupied homes fell in June from May but were higher than the same month last year. And home prices have started to rise in a majority of cities.

In a sign of a slight rebound in housing after a prolonged period of weakness following the boom years of the last decade, a closely watched index of home prices showed price gains in every major city in May versus April. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index released Wednesday showed increases in all of the 20 cities tracked with the biggest monthly gains being posted by Chicago, Atlanta and San Francisco.

And another strong gain in homebuilding pushed U.S. construction spending up 0.4 percent in June, the third straight monthly gain, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The strength came from a 1.3 percent increase in spending on housing, the fifth gain this year.

( – by the Associated Press)

Tracking Mortgage Rates

Weekly rates, in percent, for fixed 30-year mortgages

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